I enjoyed this New York Times article, Drawing Yourself into the Scene, about the way art and literature can make us more observant when we travel.
I’ve certainly found that taking notes, composing photos, researching a subject, and questing for anything all make me more observant and appreciative.
(And, as an aside, I remember seeing Renoir’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party” at a traveling exhibitionâ€”it was so beautiful up close that it made me cry!)
August 19, 2014 | Leave a Comment
This is from a 2013 Thought Catalog article; it remains an enlightening read. Includes such comments as:
- Return policy
- Free refills
- American foreign policy is a very inaccurate reflector of public consensus
- President doesnâ€™t automatically become the richest person in the country
- How open Americans are about their shortcomings and always ready for self-criticism
- Clothes washing machines
- Customer service
- Impressive distances and poor public transportation
- Rich musical history
- The size of houses
Jim Benning, travel writer and Deputy Travel Editor at BBC.com, just taught a class on personal essay at the Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference. Here he tells us what he looks for in travel narratives. (These clips are edited for length.)
Jim on finding the story and developing a narrative arc:
Jim discusses how he develops a narrative arc in his own workâ€”for example, in writing Lust in Translation about his encounter with a Chinese prostitute who was trolling for clients. The story is great, and hearing Jim talk about it is even better:
Tony Wheeler, cofounder of Lonely Planet, spoke with Don George on the opening evening of the 23rd annual Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference. Here’s a snippet of Tony explaining how Lonely Planet got its name.
In his latest book, Dark Lands, Wheeler brings his inimitable wit and style to an exploration of some of the world’s most troubled nations, including Colombia, Congo, Haiti, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Zimbabwe, and Israel-Palestine.
Hear about travel to Charleston, South Carolina as the Amateur Traveler talks to Jen Leo and her husband John Caldwell about their many trips to one of their favorite U.S. cities.
Random drawing for Facebook fans: Don’t miss this chance to win a two-week, all-expenses-paid photo safari across Australia. Paid airfare, meals and accommodations and photo safari provided by:Â Udesign Photography Tours.Â The winner will be announced on Nov. 1, 2014 atÂ Photo Plus Expo in New York, NY. Winner does not need to be present to win.
- 5 Days – Kakadu
- 3 Days – Uluru (Ayres Rock)
- 6 Days – Sydney:Â Blue Mountains,Â Harbour Bridge Climb,Â Opera House,Â Bondi Beach
“They could be pictures of another planet or the set of a science fiction movie. But it is in fact an amazing phenomenon created by accident in the middle of the Nevada Desert.
“The other-worldly images show Fly Geyser, a little-known attraction described as one of the most beautiful sights in the state. Located 20 miles north of Gerlach, in Washoe County, it was accidentally created in 1916 during well drilling.
Twenty-eight years ago, Rita Golden Gelman gave up her home and most of her possessions to travel the world, connect with people, and learn about other countries. Here’s her TEDx talk on The Joy of Connecting.
Gelman has spent years promoting a “gap year” for experiential education for American young people. She mentions the American Gap Association, that certifies Gap Year programs.
|June 25, 2014|
|7:00 pm||to||9:00 pm|
Itâ€™s the most wonderful time of the year â€” Weekday â€śDonâ€ťderlust, where we dance, sing, drink copious amounts of champagne, and celebrate the birthday of Don George, editor, writer, and friend extraordinaire.
Oh yeah, and we listen to some great tales of travel too!
On Wednesday June 25, in honor of â€śDonâ€ťderlust, we have invited three fantastic readers to the podium at the Hotel Rex (562 Sutter Street in San Francisco). Read their bios below, and on our Facebook page.
April 19, 2014 | Leave a Comment
Tales To Go, a mobile publication for iPhone and iPad, delivers four inspiring, transformative travel stories every month, with no ads, flash, or fluff. The app is a free download and so is the first issue, which features prizewinning stories by Colette Oâ€™Connor, Ken Matusow, Lavinia Spalding, and Peter Wortsman. Get the app and sample the first issue, free!
â€śWeâ€™ve long thought there should be a digital collection of travel stories that could fit in your pocket and go anywhere, and would update automatically,â€ť says Larry Habegger, Executive Editor. â€śWhen we couldnâ€™t find it, we created it.â€ť
Scribd and Lonely Planet have joined forces. For an $8.99/month subscription you get access to more than 300,000 books, now including all the Lonely Planet guides.
March 24, 2014 | Leave a Comment
|September 21, 2014|
March 1, from Travelers’ Tales: Winners of the Eighth Annual Solas Awards for Best Travel Story of the Year were announced March 1, 2014 on BestTravelWriting.com by the editors of Travelers’ Tales. Grand Prize winner Bill Giebler collected $1,000 for â€śThe Tea in Me,â€ť his compelling story about travels in India where he sees his life revealed through the processing of tea. Lisa Alpine won the silver award and $750 for â€śFish Trader Ray,â€ť her quirky tale of Amazon adventure and the characters she met there. James Michael Dorsey and Keith Skinner shared the bronze and won $250 each, James for â€śFrom the Ashes,â€ť his haunting tale of a Cambodian Buddhist monk who survived the Pol Pot genocide, Keith for â€śInside the Tower,â€ť his moving account of a visit to the home of the late poet Robinson Jeffers.
|March 27, 2014|
|12:00 pm||to||4:00 pm|
San Francisco adventurers Molly Blaisdell, Marybeth Bond, John Hamilton and Spud Hilton will be rapelling down the SF Hyatt Regency on Thursday, March 27, between noon and 4:00.
March 24, 2014 | Leave a Comment
“Roughly 5,000 years ago, a group ofÂ people, for some reason, dragged massive stones 140 miles from Wales to Wiltshire, England, arranging them in a series of concentric circlesÂ to create Stonehenge.Â For years, we’ve been trying to figure out what was remarkable enough about these rocksÂ to make the long-distance journey worth the effortâ€”particularly the massive bluestones, whichÂ at ten feet long and weighing four tons, must have been truly specialÂ to justify bringing them all that way.”
If this question has been puzzling you, check out Colin Schultz’s explanation in Smithsonian.com: The stones used to create Stonehenge have unusual sonic qualities.
Last summer, Don George spoke at theÂ TBEX blogger gatheringÂ in Dublin, Ireland. Now National Geographic Traveler brings us the quintessential tips Don offered in his TBEX talk: â€śThe Quality Quotient: Creating Content That Engages and Expands Your Audience.â€ť Don shares ideas in three helpful articles: before the trip, during the trip, and after the trip.
StoryBucks recently published a Q&A with Thomas Swick, author of two books, a collection of travel essays entitled A Way to See the World: From Texas to Transylvania with a Maverick Traveler, and a travel memoir, Unquiet Days: At Home in Poland. Swick talks about the best writing advice he has receivedâ€”and given, common misperceptions about travel writers, the prospects for career travel writers these days, and more.
February 8, 2014 | Leave a Comment
Thanks to Dick Jordan at Tales Told from the RoadÂ for the link to this article by Greg Oates in Skift: Marriott Jumps Into the Content Marketing Game, which all but promises a burgeoning market for travel content.
Did you know that Fast Company partnered with Mariott, or that AFAR Media partnered with Westin Hotels?
Marriott Hotels makes a somewhat surprising move by partnering with Fast Company, Mashable, and Wired to create branded travel content that could mark a turning point in hotel marketing.
The Maptia travel blog site offers 13 tips for telling stories about places. My favorite compares writing to photography:
“Use different vantage points: As you would with your photographs, vary the focus of your writing and the pace of your story by using different vantage points. Imagine you are taking wide shots when you are describing the setting and landscape, middle-range shots for the context and colour, and close-ups for the detail and narrative. Switching between these different views will help you bring the story to life through your writing.”
Yes, I know I missed the summer season, but I just came across this post on World Spa & Travel, and loved the water slides. What a great reminder that now matter what your topic, travel writing can encompass it.
October 29, 2013 | Leave a Comment
West Virginia is the most neurotic state, Utah is the most agreeable and the folks of Wisconsin are the country’s most extroverted, a new study says. Take TIME’s test to find out which state most suits you.
According to the study, the winners (or losers, depending on how you view these things) were in some cases surprising and in some not at all. The top scorers on extroversion were the ebullient folks of Wisconsin (picture the fans at a Packers game â€” even aÂ losingÂ Packers game). The lowest score went to the temperamentally snowbound folks of Vermont. Utah is the most agreeable place in the country and Washington, D.C., is the least (gridlock, anyone?).
Huge congratulations toÂ Mary Jo McConahay (freelance writer, author, blogger and documentary filmmaker), who won the 2013 SATW Grand Award: Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year! The judges comments included this note:
The best travel writing entices readers to be adventurous anywhere â€” from the remoteness of the tropical rain forest to the density of sprawling Sao Paulo. Mary Jo McConahay does just that in â€śMaya Roads: One Womanâ€™s Journey Among the People of the Rainforestâ€ť
Want to kick your travel writing up a notch? Here’s what Rick Steves recommends on Wanderlust and Lipstick: My favorite bit:
“I look at travel writers as the current equivalent of the court jester. We need to inspire our citizenry not to be so fearful of the world. Give your readers context…”
Travel writer Andrea Granahan’s blog includes accounts of rounding Cape Horn, learning temple values in a Balinese banjar (“Laughter is also considered an offering to the gods and most of the dramas included bawdy humor to provoke it.”), and tips for making long-distance traveling more comfortable.
October 8, 2013 | Leave a Comment
Another batch of odd maps, including (to name just a few):
- Where 29,000 Rubber Duckies Made Landfall After Falling off a Cargo Ship in the Middle of the Pacific Ocean
- Top 10 Busiest Air Travel Routes of 2012
- Where Google Street View is Available
- Literal Chinese Translations for Country Names in Europe
- Map of the World with Places Visited Colored In (tattooed onto the back and shoulders of someone who must be an incredibly committed traveler).
Different but related post: 40 Maps that Explain the World.